San Francisco’s gay vs. gay battle ended Tuesday when Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-SF) defeated incumbent state Senator Carole Migden in the primary. Leno is expected to coast to an easy victory in November in the heavily Democratic district. Leno will become the first openly gay man to become a state Senator in California history.
According to unofficial returns Wednesday, June 4, Leno netted 43 percent of the 102,109 votes cast in the race. His 43,853 vote total far outpaced his nearest competitor, Nation, who took second place with 29,902 votes, about 29 percent of the total. Migden trailed in third place with 28,354 votes, with about 28 percent.
In San Francisco, Leno walked away with 57 percent of the vote, more than 22,200 votes ahead of Nation. It was a large enough margin to compensate for Nation’s strong showings in his home ground of Marin and Sonoma counties. “It’s very thrilling. It’s really a night of elation,” said a beaming Leno, who was so confident of victory he scheduled a party in Nation’s turf prior to showing up at a Castro celebration at Lime shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday night.
In March, Migden was fined $350,000 for 89 instances of campaign finance and disclosure violations and for personal use of campaign funds. Despite the support of both of SF’s gay newspapers, Migden steadily lost ground over the campaign and according the Bay Area Reporter, by election day her candidacy was “all but ignored” by Leno.